GREEN ISSUES – ORGANIC VINES – Eco Vines1st January, 2007 by db_staff - This article is over multiple pages: 1 2
Euromonitor’s Tom Joyce compares the ‘green credentials’ of the leading wine-producing countries
As the organic food industry reports strong yearly growth, organic wine is lagging behind. A lack of consumer awareness, combined with timidity on the part of the larger winemakers and retailers, has hampered progress. Nevertheless, production of organic wine in the Old World continues to grow as the search for higher margins heats up and producers endeavour to stand out in this highly competitive environment.
The amount of land dedicated to organic production in the Old World, particularly in Italy, Spain and France, is on the increase. According to the Spanish Ministry of Agriculture, Spain dedicated 15,990 hectares to the production of organic grapes in 2005, a 7% increase on 2004. In France, the three key provinces for organic wine production – Languedoc Roussillon, PACA (Provence-Alpes-Côte d’Azure) and Aquitaine – have seen organic vineyard area grow by 8%, 15% and 19% from 2004-05.
But even in these important nations organic vineyards account for a mere 1.5% of total vineyard space, according to Euromonitor International’s research. Italy is the current leader, with more than 30,000ha of organic vineyards representing over 3% of the total.
Despite the increase in organic vineyard area in countries like France, Spain and Italy, these national markets remain tiny, and the majority of production is destined for export markets. In France, an estimated 55% of organic wine is exported, with Germany the primary destination.
In the New World, the amount of land dedicated to organic wine production lags far behind, though California leads the pack. According to David Cox, managing director of Brown-Forman Wines, which owns California-based organic Bonterra Vineyards, the State possesses approximately 3,200ha of organic vineyards, 1.5% of California’s total vineyard area.